I’ve been talking and reading a lot about the resurrection lately. George Garden and I have been meeting with Pastor Stuart Gordon and talking about the theme “Living the Resurrection.” Stuart Gordon recommended a book by Pastor Eugene Peterson called, Living the Resurrection. In this simple and basic book, Gordon talks about three basic areas that the resurrection should impact our lives.
We should first of all have what he calls “Resurrection Wonder,” which is the wonder we should have in our lives from Jesus’ resurrection. Think about how completely off-guard the witnesses to the resurrection were, and not just off-guard but filled with wonder. Peterson says that we cultivate wonder when we take the time to be still and rest before God. He points out that the reason they could be filled with wonder is that the people had just observed the Sabbath day. They were thinking about God and anticipating what God had and would do and when they saw the risen Lord, they were blown away in wonder!
Secondly, we should have “Resurrection Meals.” In this chapter, Peterson looks at the meals that are associated with Jesus’ resurrection appearances. When Jesus appears to his disciples and others, it is often in the context of meals and enjoying fellowship with other believers. And in each case, Jesus functions as the host who breaks the bread and acts as the master at the meal. The point is that in our spiritual walk and growth, we are never in charge. Sometimes Christians try to orchestrate and plan our growth, but we must always remember that Jesus is always in charge and will take what we bring him so that he can provide for us. We must be willing to look for his leading and providing.
Finally, we must have “Resurrection Friends.” Jesus appears to his friends who were not the elite or the powerful, but the ordinary, the women, the humble fishermen and tax collector. Those people formed a community where they worked and learned together. They were named in their baptism as followers of Jesus, baptized into his name and called together to continue the work of Jesus. No one is alone or independent but we work out our salvation in community.
One of the things George and I have been talking about in the meetings with Stuart Gordon is how we tend to relegate the resurrection to a once a year event. We must be living in the power and reality of the resurrection every day. Easter is far more than a day when we remember what happens to Christians when they die or what happens to us at the final resurrection. It is a day on which we remember that Jesus’ resurrection means not only eternal life in the future but eternal life right now as well.
On Easter Sunday, we will gather to worship again and we will be looking at this verse from Romans 8: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (vs. 11) The Spirit of God will not only give life to our mortal bodies, he is living in us now and giving life to us now! What a reason to celebrate this Easter! What a reason to come to the retreat and learn more of how to live in that resurrected life.